Saudi Prince Alwaleed’s firm leads $247.7 million investment in Lyft
Ridesharing service Lyft is getting a boost from Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.
The prince announced Thursday that his Kingdom Holding Co. is paying $104.9 million for 2.3 percent of Lyft, part of a larger investment by an unnamed group of $247.7 million for 5.3% of the San Francisco-based company. The investment boosts Lyft’s estimated valuation to $4.92 billion.
Mr. Alwaleed isn’t likely to catch a Lyft ride anytime soon from his Saudi Arabian home. The service operates only in the U.S. after it scaled back plans to expand overseas.
Lyft, like its well-known rival Uber Technologies Inc., offers on-demand rides from a pool of drivers through its app. The two companies have been expanding – and raising funds — rapidly as such services take hold in competition with traditional taxis.
Although it does not operate overseas, Lyft has taken investment from China’s largest ride-share provider — Didi Kuaidi – and struck an alliance with other local players around the globe.
Despite the lift from Mr. Alwaleed, Lyft is still valued at a fraction of Uber, which recently raised funds at as much as a $64.6 billion valuation. Uber is is in many overseas markets, including the Saudi capital, Riyadh.
Earlier this month, Lyft filed paperwork in Delaware authorizing the sale of as much as $1 billion in new preferred shares. That could give ultimately give Lyft a $5.75 billion valuation, according to private market data firm VC Experts.
Through Kingdom Holding, Mr. Alwaleed is an investor in a diverse set of industries, including agriculture, health care and hotels. The firm is an investor in Apple Inc., social media company Twitter Inc., and News Corp, the parent company of The Wall Street Journal.